A Wise Life

A blog by Lisa Price

There are sins that (thankfully) seem to be unique to a few (seriously creepy) individuals. We might joke about murder. However, few of us actually kill people. Even fewer people joke about cannibalism, human sacrifice or most of the sins listed in Leviticus chapter twenty. Thankfully even fewer people commit those sins (if they do I choose to remain blissfully ignorant).

Then there are the other sins.

Like a sparrow in its flitting, like a swallow in its flying, so a curse without cause does not alight~ Proverbs 26:2 NASB  The word curse or curses is used a total of 178 times in the Bible. The conspicuously large number of times the word is used in the biblical text has led many to believe that God …

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Because cultural appropriation is now considered offensive there are people who are sincerely offended when they see Trump eating tacos and basic white girls wearing hoop earrings (true story). This past spring a horde of people became frothing-at-the-mouth offended when they saw a not-so-basic white girl wearing a Chinese inspired prom dress. This tells me we have become a people who are far too easily offended by just about everything.

It has become nauseatingly trendy for Christians to declare passionately that they love Jesus but hate the church and all the people in it. They feel justified (even righteous) in saying these things because they believe that all Christians (other than themselves of course) are hateful, judgmental and pretentious. They also nearly always believe that the church is simply a misguided, human-run organization that has nothing at all to do with God or Jesus.

Insert eye roll here.

If addiction were an issue only non-Christians struggled with then there would be little point in me (or any other Christian) addressing the problem. What non-Christians do and don’t do should not be the concern of those inside the Church (1st Corinthians 5:11). It is not our job as Christians to attempt to modify the behavior of those who do not profess faith in Christ. Christians are commanded to pray for non-Christians and share the gospel with them. Period. Forcing a non-believer to act like a believer before they become a believer causes (in my opinion) more spiritual harm than good. Forcing non-Christians to act like Christians simply produces well-behaved heathens with a false sense of security.

But that is another topic for another day.

That said, I do not believe that “all sin is the same”. Nor do I believe that the view that “all sin is the same” can be backed up biblically (1st John 5:17, Matthew 12:31, 1st Corinthians 6:9-10, Ephesians 5:5, Galatians 5:21). Furthermore, this ridiculous view is actually leading to more sin rather than less, and therefore ought to be examined more closely.

Before you write me off as a wild-eyed heretic, hear me out.

From its inception the church was filled with men and women from every tribe, tongue, education level and social class imaginable (Acts 2:5-12, 1st Timothy 6:2, Galatians 3:28, James 2:1-4, 1st Corinthians 12:13, Revelation 7:9). The Church was intended from the very beginning to be a place where societal norms are challenged at every turn.

God designed the church to be a place where serving is favored over being served (Matthew 23:1), where the weak are every bit as cherished as the strong and where each person is working for the good of every other person. Church is where every follower of Jesus regardless of age, race, gender or social position is equal and equally loved by God (Galatians 3:28).

This myth is the stuff of fairy tales and is at the root of every other lie we believe about marriage. This myth implies that there is only one person who is suited to each of us and finding that one person guarantees a blissful union. Hard work, personal responsibility and commitment to personal growth are not a big part of the “right one” mythology. Some spiritualize the myth by telling themselves that if they aren’t happy “they didn’t find the one God had for them”.

Prior to the first coming of Jesus people could change their actions but not their hearts. An evil or an unbelieving person was just kind of stuck that way forever. Jesus’ coming changed that reality. Because, Jesus’ presence indwells the people who believe in Him, His presence gives us the power we need to change not just our actions but also our hearts. Because of Jesus we can be better people tomorrow than we are today.

That is something to celebrate.

By far, the nastiest and most damaging form of church hurt comes at the hands of so-called shepherds (Isaiah 56:11). False teachers, who use and abuse their spiritual authority to control, manipulate, defraud or sexually exploit those they have been tasked with caring for.